A Collection of Chess Computers and Virtual Chess Computers Museum
Information about dedicated chess computers
(c)2004,2005 - Ismenio Sousa - http://www.ismenio.com

Protect yourself against scammers!
Information on eBay scam auctions (chess computers)

Some chess computers are very valuable and some, even if not rare, are very expensive. Some auctions can attract a lot of bidders and end up with quite a lot of money and that has caught the attention of scammers. They may try to scam honest bidders in different ways:

- Clone (copy) the contents of an auction and create a fake auction

- Try to contact  bidders who didn't win an auction pretending to be the seller and offering them a second chance option to buy the item. Some even setup phishing pages for that so that you may think that you are logging into eBay!

- Sell a defective item and try to blame the problem on the delivery, They may even offer to refund the money but when you send the item back  you just don't hear from them anymore.
Here we will try to five you information on how to detect a fake auction so that you can protect yourself.

One famous computer that seems to be a favorite for scammers is the expensive Tasc Chess System. There was a legitimate auction for a very nice unit and it was sold for over $2,300.00 and had very nice pictures and an excellent technical description. Because of that, the information has been copied and used to setup many fake auctions. I have records of scam auctions with that information on:
  • November 2004
  • February 2005
  • April 2005
  • June 2005
  • August 2005

This unsolicited message was even sent to a collector back in 2004:


I am contacting you regarding my item " The Tasc R30 1995 Chess Computer
Schachcomputer " I had for sale on ebay 2 week ago. I took the auction out to
sell it to someone and it turned out that my buyer didn't have the money to pay.
If you are still interested pls contact me. Would be able to sell with US$1250
with shipping included

Best regards

Let's take a look at what the fake auction looks like:

Let's look at some "red flags" on this auction. Remember that this information is just to be used as a guide. A legitimate auction may present one or more of these items so be careful on how you use this info.

1) The header of the auction:

2) The body of the auction. Description, etc.

3) Pictures used. Note: Sometimes, the auction may not have any pictures at all and the seller usually tries to find an excuse as to why he can't upload or email picture to you.

4) The bottom of the auction. Details about payment.

If you think you have an auction that looks suspicious ask as many questions as possible. Pictures in certain angles (the serial number of the computer, etc.)
Ask if the seller is willing to use a certified escrow service (authorized by eBay only!). And check with the community of chess computer collectors. There are forums and messages boards where you can find them. Check the links on the main page for them.

I hope this information has been useful and remember: always be careful out there!

(c)2005 by Ismenio Sousa

Quick links
Chess computers forum
Ismenio's collection